Financing on a Fixer Upper

jerzeegirlApril 5, 2010

Has anyone here with experience in getting bank financing for a fixer upper? I am interested in a house (designated historical) that needs to be rehabbed. It needs to have a/c installed, paint, new windows, hopefully mostly cosmetic work, although possibly some structure too - you just never know with older homes.

Does anyone know if it's possible to get a mortgage for this kind of property. I am certain the real estate agent wants a cash deal but if we pay cash for the property we will not have enough to rehab it, hence my question.

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Why would the RE agent care how you are paying for the house? They will make the same commission regardless of how the house is paid for.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 11:43PM
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The real estate agent doesn't care. I am just wondering if any one knows if it would be difficult to get a bank to mortgage a fixer upper.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 8:40AM
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Given that the value likely cannot be established, and the bank does not want to end up with a "fixer upper" you will have to have a substantial down payment to entice them.

50% just as a starting point.

If there are so many unknowns, how do you know YOU will be able to afford repairs?

    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 9:24AM
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From your description this doesn't sound necessarily like a true rehab property. If the value can be supported and the house is livable then you can probably get a mortgage.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 9:53AM
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Yes, there are a couple of different mortgage products that you can use to purchase a home and rehab it at the same time.

FHA 203K and the Fannie Mae Homestyle are 2 products.

You mortgage the costs of the rehab, close the loan, do the rehab, and the bank pays the rehab costs as the work moves along. They are very complex mortgages and processes, find a lender that is familiar with the products.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 4:10PM
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You need to do some research on what is involved in maintaining a historically designated home BEFORE you try buying.
Homes in historically designated areas usually have restrictions on what can and can not be done to them. You need to know before you buy what you are getting into. Buying into a historically designated area means you abide by the rules established for that neighborhood, it's like a HOA but much more restrictive in what you can and can not do. Changing out the windows for most is a huge no no! You may even have to submit any changes to their board for approval before you can do anything to the house this includes painting it!

    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 4:14PM
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Sorry, just saw the "designated historical" ... that's where your problem is going to be.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 4:18PM
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I live in a community that is very proud of its historical homes and, yes, there are lots of rules and regulations (and even a tax break) for those who are restoring historical homes. The city goes over and approves all plans. There is even a selection of colors that you are supposed to paint the exterior and interior of homes. We are involved in historic preservation so are familiar we the restrictions.

It's the mortgage part of the transaction that stumps me.
We couldn't buy without some kind of mortgage or we wouldn't have enough money for the restoration!

    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 5:49PM
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If the house is in an established neighborhood of historical homes your bank may be more responsive than you think. The only way to know for sure is to go talk to them.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 6:15PM
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If the house is in livable condition, you won't have any problem getting a mortgage. However, the lender is only going to make a conventional loan based on the current condition of the home, not what you hope it will look like after 100k in renovations. If you have cash to complete the renovations, that is all you would need.

If you are trying to borrow for the mortgage AND the money for renovations, there are several loan products that allow that. However, there are a ton of hoops to jump through for them. You need to have licensed contractors lined up, detailed plans in place, a fixed timeline for renovations etc.

If this home is in a historic district, there is another set of hoops to jump though. Exterior renovations (even painting) will need to be approved by your local boards. That process can take a month or more for even simple changes. The people who approve them in my area meet only once a month and the deadline to get on their agenda is a couple weeks out from the meeting. That means it could take 6 weeks just to get your request heard. If they have concerns or revisions, that could be another month. If they don't like plan B, that could be another month. So far, they have been quite reasonable for our proposed renovations, but since the boards are local, that may or may not be the case in your area.

If you will be applying for historic preservation tax credits, that is an entirely different process handled at the state level. You'll need to have all of that paperwork completed and approved before construction begins.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 1:24PM
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The house is totally livable. It needs to have vinyl tile removed from the hardwood floors. It needs a new kitchen (bring it on!) . It needs interior paint. Nothing has been done to it since the sixties - some see this as a drawback, I see it as a benefit :-).

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 9:09PM
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Like I said earlier if it is livable and appraises for enough then you should be able to get a mortgage assuming your credit is good as well. It will be even easier if you put 20% down.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 6:38AM
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